Advani’s Jinnah Drama – An exercise in Goebbelsian parliamentarism
Advani’s recent visit to Pakistan was quite meaningful. Perhaps the most apparent reason was to assuage his aggressive communalist image, which is seen as a hindrance in posing him as a ‘national’ leader of a ‘secular’ India. Vajpayee’s image of a moderate rightist made him more acceptable, despite Advani’s unique popularity among the ranks and files of all the rightist forces in the country, due to the latter’s leadership in the movement that led to the demolition of the Babri Mosque and communal riots across the country (although he denies his own participation in the actual demolition). If we understand this purpose, the total game plan behind the just finished Jinnah ‘controversy’ seems deliberate and well designed. It shows the strength of the fascist forces in India and their ability to manipulate opinions and coordinate their own organs skilfully. How does it matter, at least, to BJP, VHP and RSS whether Jinnah was secular or not? Taking into consideration their perception regarding the state and the role of religion in defining it, it is highly suspicious that they are reacting against Jinnah being called secular. They could have made it an occasion to tell people that Pakistan is the result of what they call ‘pseudo-secularism’, as they are always ready to reinterpret their leaders’ meaningless utterances. But they did not choose to do that, or rather they wanted to take time in doing so. It was only after the drama that BJP started convincing its bewildered cadres that Advani was actually suggesting that despite Jinnah’s secular speech at the time of independence, he created a theocratic state. However, the collaboration between the different organs of the ten-headed (dashanan) RSS was perfect as always, and it corroborates the Italian anti-fascist leader Togliatti’s characterisation of fascism as a chameleon –
1. Advani calls Jinnah secular,
2. VHP’s Togadia croaks immediately in his regular spirit of mindless denunciations,
3. RSS too does some chastising,
4. Advani is defiant; he resigns and calls for an open debate,
5. BJP is in temporary crisis,
6. “Secular” toadies in NDA, like Nitish Kumar, come in support of Advani, and threatens to pull out of the coalition,
7. Vajpayee and the BJP leadership soothe Advani and,
8. Advani withdraws his resignation.
Logical Conclusion: Within a few days of drama, Advani has become fit for leading a ‘secular’ India. Togadia’s abuses, RSS’ chastising and Nitish’s mediation all are necessary for such qualifications.